By Lt. Col. Ralph Gracia
In our society, communicating diversity is a leadership commitment and process. This process informs people on ways to share similarities while not overlooking their differences. However, this process must be free of ambiguities and misunderstandings. I strongly concur with George Bernard Shaw’s statement, “Making sure communication does take place is particularly challenging for diversity leaders because; misconceptions, ambiguities, myths, and simple misunderstandings often complicate the process of implementing diversity initiatives.” In leadership, communicating diversity has been necessary to survive in an ever-changing society. From my experience as an educator at Franklin K. Lane (FKL) Educational Campus (six high schools with 10 different languages), students pride themselves on their ability to communicate in dialects from around the globe. As a result, students feel passionate, committed, and empowered, about their diversity and cultures which developed the campus’ trademark.
For the past six years, the campus has impressed me with the opportunities presented to our students. In communicating diversity, the Black History Month event recognized and rewarded Black excellence. MSgt Eddie Carr and the Brooklyn Supreme Court’s Joint Leadership initiatives, along with the FKL Air Force Junior ROTC cadets, highlighted this event with their presence and active roles in the community. The cadets were exposed to a professional panel of military and non-military service members featuring African-American contributions in the service. MSgt Carr recognized the need to utilize our experience in leadership to communicate diversity and reach our students’ needs which will be impactful and beneficial to their future endeavors. Thus, this article is a tribute to the cultural diversity exhibited on the campus. My experience writing for the “Al Día Today” newspaper, has afforded me the opportunity to reach out and connect with diverse groups. One important goal etched into my heart and soul is the ability to appreciate diversities and cultures. This leadership commitment and passion also exhibit my heritage.
The campus extended our involvement into the classrooms via students’ collaboration and discussions about the importance of communicating diversity. I continue to be passionate and dedicated to the cultures and diversities that are presented in New York City and all over the world. Additionally, this has also been recognized, specifically by my colleague, Dr. Andreas Zachariou from St. John’s University. He has been a beacon for diversity, human development, and cultural perspective. Dr. Zachariou has been instrumental in the cultural and human development of many individuals and has paved the way, to a more diverse and prosperous future for students and graduates.